At a time when Holy Mother Church asks us to rejoice and be glad because the Lord is near, the tragic shooting that took place last Friday in Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, CT, performed by a 20 year old man, identified as Adam Lanza, mercilessly opened fire and killed 27 people including his own mother, the principal, teachers and 20 children, have greatly affected us and as it were, forbid me a wealth of words thereupon, make any celebratory remarks. Even if we have seen tragedy and violence of this nature before, we are not immune. We are not desensitized. We are all deeply saddened by this horrific event. We ask tough questions and struggle to understand the tremendous damage this has caused. It is incomprehensible. We can’t even begin to imagine how it unfolded.
It’s hard to echo the words of St. Paul to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always because the Lord is near…I shall say it, Rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God” (Phil 4:4-7).
The same thing goes with first reading, “Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has removed the judgment against you; …Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.” Zeph. 3: 14-18a.
But, in spite of all this, martyrs were born. The example Victoria Soto, a first grade teacher, showed us will remain forever in the hearts and minds of many. In an attempt to protect her first grade students from the madman hid them in the closet and told him that her kids were in the gym and ended up losing her life.
Looking at the whole terrible disaster, I can’t offer a lot of words but simply yet deeply express my sympathy and join the victims and their families and everyone affected in grieving moments…
“May of the souls of the 27 people killed through the mercy of God rest in peace…”
The two commentaries below provide excellent thoughts on the tragic shooting…The first is from former Gov. of Arkansas Mike Huckabee:
and the second is from Fr. Bob Barron: